What are the Temple Scrolls (11QT)?
Location of scroll findings
The Temple Scroll is one of the longest writings of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scroll is designated as: 11QT or as most call it: The Temple Scroll. However, it does appear that more than one single copy exited at Qumran, just not in the same condition as 11QTa. As mentioned in earlier articles on the DDS, the letter/number indicators in the naming of these scrolls is informative. For example, 11 means it was found in cave #11, at Qumran (Q). The “T” designates it as a Temple scroll family. Other naming conventions exist for these texts but this is the basic understanding, just for the reader’s benefit.
Qumran Cave 11 (11Q) – Discovered by Bedouin in 1956. The last of the Qumran Scrolls found to date were discovered in this cave. The remains of around 30 manuscripts were found, including a few nearly-complete Scrolls: Leviticus (written in paleo-Hebrew), Psalms and an Aramaic targum of Job. The most exciting find was the Temple Scroll (the longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls), which rewrites the book of Deuteronomy and details regulations pertaining to Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple.
Other fragments of the Temple Scroll has been found in cave #4 but it is so fragmented that some are unsure whether or not it’s a copy of the Temple Scroll or if it’s a part of another work that quotes from the Temple Scroll. Either way, most believe that we have at least 3 partial copies of the Temple Scroll even if some are fragmented.
Writing style and tools
The manuscript is written in Hebrew in the square Herodian script of the late Second Temple Period (the first half of the first century CE), on extremely thin animal skin (one-tenth of a millimeter), making it the thinnest parchment scroll ever found in the caves of Qumran. Two other copies of the same composition have also come to light: one in Cave 11 (Temple Scrollb [11Q20]), and another (possibly a fragmentary copy of the last part of the work) in Cave 4 (4QTemple Scrollb [4Q524]). Most scholars believe that all three manuscripts are copies of an original work composed in the Land of Israel in the second half of the second century BCE (after 120 BCE, perhaps during the rule of John Hyrcanus I).
The Temple Scrolla consists of 18 sheets of parchment, each of which has three or four columns of text. The scroll’s total length is 8.146 meters; it is thus the largest scroll ever discovered in the Qumran caves. Its second half – the inner portion of the scroll – is better preserved than the first.
Dating of the scrolls
The Temple Scrolla is written in Hebrew in the square Herodian script of the late Second Temple Period (530 BCE – 70 CE). By my own personal view it appears that multiple authors or redactors were involved in the making of the scrolls. Most scholars believe that all three Temple Scroll manuscripts are copies of an original manuscript which originated from inside Israel. The original is believe to be from the second century BCE. Other scholars have opted for a pre-Maccabean composition which was done by Levites who rejected the Zadokite high priests’ interpretation of Torah.
While it is hard to be conclusive on the exact dating, it is still clear that these were second temple period documents. It is hard to know precisely what part of the period because after the Jews returned to rebuild the temple purity was a main concern and it remained so until even after Jesus’ death. Certain indicators in the text can help the dating, such as: style of script, type of parchment, inclusion of aramaisms, implicit or explicit references to geographical items, references to people or people groups, and a slew of other things. The text of the scrolls will be posted below. I encourage the readers to view the translation and see for themselves what point in history they can determine.
The importance of the Temple Scroll
The Temple scrolls contain a large amount of quotes from Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Exodus. Though most quotes come from Deuteronomy which should be expected since the legend of the Temple scroll is that God revealed the Temple design to Moses. Where the scroll went to for 1000 years between Moses and the Maccabean era is unknown.
Regardless of the historicity of the scroll’s origin, the scrolls do tell us a lot about the development of the biblical texts. Many of the OT quotations differ from the Masoretic tradition and some cannot be adequately identified with a manuscript tradition. The parts of the “Law of Moses” that are omitted tell us a bit about the specific concerns of the community. It has been demonstrated already that the Qumran community favored certain laws more than others so one can assume that a slight emphasis would appear in the Temple Scrolls.
We also learn a great deal about how the Jewish population in the Second Temple period viewed themselves and their purity. The temple design seems to indicate that the previous temple design was not adequate for maintaining purity. For example, at one point in the text God gives instructions on how to design an outer mote around the sanctuary so that no person can run in and defile it (seemingly on purpose).
You shall make a one-hundred-cubits-wide ditch around the sanctuary which shall divide the holy sanctuary from the city so that no one can rush into my sanctuary and defile it
Perhaps these types of design measures are to prevent gentiles from defiling the temple like the Greeks did. Assuming this part was written after the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes (168 BCE) who defiled the temple greatly then such a design regulation would make sense as a way to protect the sanctuary. In light of having the temple desecrated in the recent past one could see the value in wanted to take extra precautions. Of course, even if the text was older than the Maccabean period one would still recall the blunder of Aaron’s sons who were killed after barging into the holy place and offering unauthorized incense (Leviticus 10).
As an exercise of fun and education I would recommend reading the building guidelines in parallel with the Temple scrolls that are found in the Bible.
Building guidelines in Ezekiel
Text of the 11QT – Temple Scroll
Table of Contents
Not all of the scroll is readable. Columns 3-12 are particularly deteriorated. The translatable and readable columns are listed below. The contents are listed by topic but the column number(s) will be listed after the title of the contents in Roman numerals.
All translation work has been done by and transmitted by Geza Vermes, in “The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls“.
1. Covenant between God and Israel (II).
2. Building of the Temple, measurements of the Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, the chambers and colonnades (III-VII).
3. Description of the mercy seat, the cherubim, the veil, the table, the golden lamp-stand, etc. (VII-XI).
4. Outline of the sacrifice sand the altar (XI-XII).
5. Daily, weekly and monthly sacrifices and those offered on festivals (XIII-XXIX).
6. Buildings in the Temple courtyards: the stair house, the house of the laver, the house for sacred vessels, the slaughterhouse, etc. (XXX-XXXV).
7. The three courtyards of the Temple, one for the priests, one for Jewish men over twenty years of age, and one for women and children (XXXVI-XLV).
8. Purity regulations concerning the Temple and the city of the Sanctuary (XLVI-XLVIII).
9. Purity regulations concerning the cities of Israel (XLVIII-LI).
10. Judges and officers (LI).
11. Laws relating to idolatry and to sacrificial animals (LI-LIII).
12. Vows and oaths (LIII-LIV).
13. Laws against apostasy (LIV-LV).
14. Laws relating to priests and Levites and detailed statutes of the Jewish king (LVI-LIX).
15. Miscellaneous laws regarding priestly dues, idols, witnesses, the conduct of war, the rebellious son, crimes punishable by ‘hanging’, and incestuous relations (LX-LXVI).
Temple Scroll Text
Covenant between God and Israel (II)
[Behold, Iwill make a covenant.] [For it is something dreadful that I] will do [to you.] [I myself will expel from before you] the A[morites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashit]es, the Pe[rizzites, the Hivites and] the Jebusites. Ta[ke care not to make a cove]nant with the inhabitants of the country [which you are to] enter so that they may not prove a sn[are for you.] You must destroy their [alta]rs, [smash their] pillars [and] cut down their [sacred trees and burn] [their] idols [with fire]. You must not desire silver and gold so [that you may not be ensnared by them; for that would be abominable to me]. You must [not] br[ing any abominable idol] into your house [and come] under the ban together with it. You shall de[test and abominate it], for it is under the ban. You shall not worship [another] go[d, for YHWH, whose name is] [Jealous], is a jealous God. Take care not to make a [covenant with the inhabitants of the country] [so that, when they whore] after [their go]ds [and] sacrifice to [them and invite you,] [you may not eat of their sacrifices and] t[ake their daughters for your sons, and their daughters may not whore after] their [gods] and cau[se your sons to whore after them.]
Building of the Temple, measurements of the Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, the chambers and colonnades (III-VII)
Unfortunately, this section of scroll in not able to be translated from the scrolls as it is too badly deteriorated.
Description of the mercy seat, the cherubim, the veil, the table, the golden lamp-stand, etc. (VII-XI)
Unfortunately, this section of scroll in not able to be translated from the scrolls as it is too badly deteriorated.
Outline of the sacrifice sand the altar (XI-XII)
Unfortunately, this section of scroll in not able to be translated from the scrolls as it is too badly deteriorated.
Daily, weekly and monthly sacrifices and those offered on festivals (XIII-XXIX)
[This is what you shall offer on the altar:] t[wo y]ear[ling lambs] without blemish [every day as a perpetual holocaust. You shall offer the first in the morning; and you shall offer the other lamb in the evening; the corresponding grain-offering will be a te]nth of fine flour mixed with [a quarter of a hin of beaten oil; it shall be a perpetual holocaust of soothing odour, an offering by fire] to YHWH; and the corresponding drink-offering shall be a quart[er of a hin of] wine. [The priest who offers the holocaust shall receive the skin of] the burnt-[offering which he has offered. You shall offer the other lamb in the even]ing with the same grain-[offering as in the] morning and with the corresponding drink-offering as an offering by fire, a soothing odour to YHWH … On the S[abbath] days you shall offer two [yearling rams without blemish and two]
[tenths of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with oil, for a grain-offering and the corresponding drink-offering. This is the holocaust of every Sabbath in addition to the perpetual holocaust and the corresponding drink-offering. On the first day of each month you shall offer a holocaust to YHWH: two young bulls, one ram, seven yearling rams without blemish and a grain-offe]ring of fine flour, [three tenths of an ephah] mix[ed with half a hin of oil, and a drink-offering, ha]lf a hin for [each young bull and a grain-offering of fine flour mixed with oil, two tenths of an ephah] with a third [of a hin, and wine for a drink-offering, one third of a hinfor each ram;] … one tenth [of fine flour for] a grain-[offering, mixed with a quarter of a hin, and wine, a quarter of a hi]n for each lamb … a soothing [odour] to YHWH on the first day of each month. This is the burnt-offering for each month for the months of the year … On the first day of the [first] month [the months (of the year) shall start; it shall be the first month] of the year [for you. You shall do no] work. [You shall offer a he-goat for a sin-offering.] It shall be offered by itself to expiate [for you. You shall offer a holocaust: a bullock], a ram, [seven yearli]ng ram lambs [without blemish] … [ad]di[tional to the bu]r[nt-offering for the new moon, and a grainoffering of three tenths of fine flour mixed with oil], half a hin [for each bullock, and wi]ne for a drink-offering, [half a hin, a soothing odour to YHWH, and two] tenths of fine flour mixed [with oil, one third of a hin. You shall offer wine for a drink-offering,] one th[ird] of a hin for the ram, [an offering by fire, of soothing odour to YHWH; and one tenth of fine flour], a grain-offerin[g mixed with a quarter of a hinof oil. You shall offer wine for a drink-offering, a quarter of a hin] for each [ram] … lambs and for the he-g[oat] …
[ea]ch day … seven [year]ling [lambs] and a he-[goat] … according to this statute. For the ordination (of the priests), one ram for each [day, and] baskets of bread for all the ra[ms of the ordination, one basket for] each [ram]. They shall divide all the rams and the baskets for the seve[n days of the ordination for each] day; according to [their] division[s, they shall offer to YHWH the right thigh] of the ram as a holocaust and [the fat covering the entrails and the] two kidneys and the fat on them [and on] the loins and the whole fat tail close to the backbone and the appendage of the liver and the corresponding grain-offering and drink-offering according to the sta[tute. They shall take one unleavened cake from the] basket and one cake of bread with oil and [one] wafer, [and they shall put it all on the fat] together with the offering of the right thigh. Those who sacrifice shall wave the rams and the baskets of bread as a wa[ve-offering be]fore YHWH. This is a holocaust, an offering by fire, of soothing odour before YHWH. [They shall burn everything on the altar over] the holocaust, to complete their ordination during the seven days of [ordination]. If the High Priest is to [minister to YHWH, whoever] has been ordained to put on the vestments in place of his father, shall offer [a bull fo]r all the people and another for the priests. He shall offer the one for the priests first. The elders of the priest[s] shall lay [their hands]
[on] its [hea]d and after them the High Priest and all the [priests. They shall slaughter] the bull [before YHWH]. The elders of the priests shall take from the blood of the bull and [place] it [with their finger on the horns of the altar] and they shall pour [the blood] around the four corners of the [altar] ledge … [and they shall take from its blood and pl]ace it [on his right ear lobe and on the thumb of his right hand and the big toe of his] right [foot. They shall sprinkle on him and his vestments some of the blood which was on the altar]… [he] shall be [holy] all his days. [He shall not go near any dead body]. He shall [not] render himself unclean [even for his father or mother,] for [he is] hol[y to YHWH, his God] … [He shall offer on the al]tar and burn [the fat of the first bull] … [all] the fat on the entrails and [the appendage of the liver and the two kidne]ys and the fat on the[m] and [the fat on] the loins, and the corresponding grain-offering and drink-[offering according to their statute,] he shall bur[n them on the altar.] It shall be [a burnt-]offering, an offering by fire, of soothing odour be[fore YHWH. The flesh of the bull], its skin and offal, they shall burn outside the [sanctuary city on a wood fire] in a place reserved for sin-offerings. There they shall bur[n it with its head and legs] together with all its entrails. They shall burn all of it there except the fat. It is a sin-[offering]. He shall take the second bull, which is for the people, and by it he shall expiate [for all the people of] the assembly, by its blood and fat. As he did with the fir[st] bull, [so he shall do] with the bull of the assembly. He shall place with his finger some of its blood on the horns of the [altar, and the remainder of] its blood, he shall sprinkle o[n the f]our corners of the altar ledge, and [its fat and] the corresponding [grain-] offering and drink-offering, he shall burn on the altar. It is a sin-offering for the assembly.
… They shall rejoice because expiation has been made for them … This day [shall] be a holy gathering for them, [an eternal rule for all their generations] wherever they dwell. They shall rejoice and … [Let] them [prepare on the fourtee]nth day of the first month [between dusk and dark the Passover of YHWH]. They shall sacrifice (it) before the evening offering and shall sacrifice … men from twenty years of age and over shall prepare it. They shall eat it at night in the holy courts. They shall rise early and each shall go to his tent … On the fifteenth day of this month (there shall be) a ho[ly] gathering. You shall do no work of labour on it. (It shall be) a seven-day feast of unleavened bread for YHWH. You shall offer on each of the[se] seven days a holocaust to YHWH: two young bulls, a ram, and seven ram lambs without blemish and a he-goat for a sin-offering and the corresponding grain-offering and drink-offering [according to the sta]tute for the young bulls, rams, l[am]bs and the he-goat. On the seventh day [(there shall be) an assembly] for [YHWH]. You shall do no work on it.
… [he-] goat for a sin-offering … [the corresponding grain-offering and drink-] offering according to the statute; one tenth of fine flour [mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil and] a quarter of a hin of wine for a drink-offering … [he shall expiate] for all the guilt of the people of the assembly … This shall be an eternal [ru]le for you [for your generations wherever you dwell.] Then they shall offer the one ram, on[ce], on the day of the waving of the sheaf. You shall count seven complete Sabbaths from the day of your bringing the sheaf of [the wave-offering. You shall c]ount until the morrow of the seventh Sabbath. You shall count [fifty] days. You shall bring a new grain-offering to YHWH from your homes, [a loaf of fine fl]ou[r], freshly baked with leaven. They are firstfruits to YHWH, wheat bread, twe[lve cakes, two] tenths of fine flour in each cake … the tribes of Israel. They shall offer
… their [grain-offerin]g and dr[ink-offering] according to the statute. The [priests] shall wave … [wave-offering with the bread of] the firstfruits. They shall b[elong to] the priests and they shall eat them in the [inner] court[yard], [as a ne]w [grain-offering], the bread of the firstfruits. Then … new bread from freshly ripened ears. [On this] da[y] there shall be [a holy gathering, an eter]nal [rule] for their generations. [They] shall [do] no work. It is the feast of Weeks and the feast of Firstfruits, an eterna[l] memorial. You [shall count] seven weeks from the day when you bring the new grain-offering to YHW [H], the bread of firstfruits. Seven full Sabbaths [shall elapse un]til you have counted fifty days to the morrow of the seventh Sabbath. [You] shall [bring] new wine for a drink-offering, four hins from all the tribes of Israel, one third of a hin for each tribe. They shall offer on this day with the wine twelve rams to YHWH; all the chiefs of the clans of Israel
… [r]ams and the corresponding grain-offering according to the statute: two [tenths of fine flour mixed with oil, one third of a h]in of oil for a ram; with this drink-offering … seven yearling ram lambs and a he-[goat] … assembly … their [grainoffering and drink-offering] (shall be) according to the statute concerning young bulls and the ram … to YHWH. At the quarter of the day, they shall offer … [the r]ams and the drink-offering. They shall offer … fourteen yearling ram lambs … the burnt-offering. They shall prepare them … and they shall burn their fat on the altar, [the fat covering the entrails] and the fat that is on them, and [the appendage of the liver with] the kidneys he shall remove and the fat on [them], and that which is on the loins and the fat tail close to the backbone. They shall b[urn all on the altar] together with the corresponding grain-offering and drinkoffering, an offering by fire, of soothing odou[r before YHWH]. They shall offer every grain-offering joined to a drink-offering according to [the statute]. They shall take a handful from [eve]ry grain-offering offered either with frankincense or dry, (this being) its [memorial portion], and burn it on the altar. They shall eat the remainder in the [in]n[er] courtyard. The priests shall e[a]t it unleavened. It shall not be eaten with leaven. It shall be ea[ten] on that day [before] sun[se]t. They shall salt all their offerings. You shall never allow the covenant of salt to fail. They shall offer to YHWH an offering from the rams and the lambs, the right thigh, the breast, [the cheeks, the stomac]h and the foreleg as far as the shoulder bone, and they shall wave them as a wave-offering.
[The priests’] portions [shall] be the thigh of the offering and the breast … [the foreleg]s, the cheeks and the stomachs … [as an eternal rule, from the children of Isra]el and the shoulder remaining of the foreleg [shall be for the Levites] … an eternal rule for them and for their seed .. the princes of the Thousands … [from] the rams and from [the lambs, one ram and one ram lamb (shall belong) to the priests; to the Levites], one [ra]m, one lamb; and to every [tribe, on]e [ram], one lamb for all the tri[bes], the [twe]lve tribes of Israel. They shall eat them [on that day, in the out]er [courtyard] before YHWH. … [the priest]s shall drink there first and the Levites [second] … the princes of the standards first … [men of] renown. After them the whole people, from the great to the small, shall begin to drink the new wine. They [shall not e]a[t] any un[ri]pe grapes from the vines, for [on] this [da]y they shall expiate for the tirosh. The children of Israel shall rejoice before YHWH, an eternal [rule] for their generations wherever they dwell. They shall rejoice on [this] d[ay for they have begun] to pour out an intoxicating drink-offering, the new wine, on the altar of YHWH, year by year. [You sha]ll count from that day seven weeks, seven times (seven days), forty-nine days; there shall be seven full Sabbaths; until the morrow of the seventh Sabbath you shall count fifty days. You shall then offer new oil from the homes of [the tr]ibes of the ch[ildren of Is]rael, half a hin from a tribe, new beaten oil … oil on the altar of the holocaust, firstfruits before YHWH.
… [shall expi]ate with it for all the congregation before [YHWH] … with this oil, half a hin … [according to the st]atute, a holocaust, an offering by fire, of soothing [odour to YHWH] … [With] this oil they shall light the lamps … the princes of the Thousands with … fourteen [yearling] m[ale lamb]s and the corresponding grain-offering and drink-offering … [for the lambs and] the rams. The Levites shall slaughter … [and] the priests, the sons of Aaron, [shall spri]nkle their blood [on the altar all around] … [and] they shall burn their fat on the altar of the [holocaust] … [and the corresponding grain-offering] and drink-offering, they shall burn over the fats … [an offering by fire, of soothing odour to] YHWH. They shall take away fr[om] … the right thigh and the breast … the cheeks and the stomach shall be the priests’ portion according to the statute concerning them. (They shall give) to the Levites the shoulder. Afterwards they shall bring them (the offerings) out to the children of Israel, and the children of Israel shall give the prie[st]s one ram, one lamb, and to the Levites, one ram, one lamb, and to each tribe, one ram, one lamb. They shall eat them on that day in the outer courtyard before YHWH, an eternal rule for their generations, year by year. Afterwards they shall eat from the olives and anoint themselves with the new oil, for on this day they shall expiate for [al]l [the o]il of the land before YHWH once yearly. They shall rejoice
… The High Priest shall offer the [holocaust of the Levites] first, and afterwards he shall send up in smoke the holocaust of the tribe of Judah, and w[hen he] is sending it up in smoke, they shall slaughter before him the he-goat first and he shall lift up its blood in a bowl to the altar and with his finger he shall pu[t some] of the blood to the four horns of the alta[r] of the holocaust and to the four corners of the altar ledge, and shall toss the blood towards the bas[e] of the altar ledge all around. He shall burn its fat on the altar, the fat covering the entrails and that over the entrails. The appendage of the liver with the kidneys he shall remove as well as the fat over them and on the loins. He shall send up in smoke all of them on the altar together with the corresponding grain-offering and drink-offering, an offering by fire of soothing odour to YHWH. And
… the flesh, of [soothing] odour; it shall be [an offering by fire to YHWH. Thus they must do to every] young bull, and to every ram and to [every lamb] and its limbs (?) shall remain apart. The corresponding [grain-offering] and drink-offering shall be on it, an [eternal] rule for your generations before YHWH. After this holocaust he shall offer the holocaust of the tribe of Judah separately. As he has done with the holocaust of the Levites, so shall he do with the holocaust of the children of Judah after the Levites. On the second day he shall first offer the holocaust of Benjamin and after it he shall offer the holocaust of the children of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh together. On the third day, he shall offer the holocaust of Reuben separately, and the holocaust of Simeon separately. On the fourth day he shall offer the holocaust of Issachar separately and the holocaust of Zebulun separately. On the fifth day he shall offer the holocaust of Gad separately and the holocaust of Asher separately. On the sixth day
[he shall offer the holocaust of Dan separately and the holocaust of Naphtali separately] … In the [seventh] m[onth, on the first day of the month, you shall have] a sacred rest, a remembrance announced by a trumpet blast, a [holy] ga[thering. You shall offer a holocaust, an offering by fire, of soothing odour be]fore YHWH. You shall o[ffer on]e [young bull,] one ram, seve[n] ye[ar]ling [lamb]s [without blemish and one he-goat for a sinoffering, and] the corresponding grain-offering and drink-offering according to the statute concerning the[m, of soothing odour to YHWH, in addition to] the perpetual [holocaus]t [and the holo]caust of the new moon. Afterwards [you shall offer] this [holocaust] at the third part of the day, an eternal rule for your generation[s wherever you dwell.] You shall rejoice on this day. On it you shall do no work. A sacred rest shall this day be for you. The tenth of this month is the Day of Atonement. You shall mortify yourselves. For any person who does not mortify himself on this selfsame day shall be cut off from his people. You shall offer on it a holocaust to YHWH: one young bull, one ram, seven ram lambs, one he-goat for a sin-offering, in addition to the sin-offering of the atonement and the corresponding grain-offering and drink-offering according to the statute concerning the young bull, the ram, the lambs and the he-goat. For the sin-offering of the atonement you shall offer two rams for holocaust. The High Priest shall offer one for himself and his father’s house
… [The High Prie]st [shall cast lots on the two goats,] o[ne] lot for YHWH and one for Azazel. He shall slaughter the goat [on] which [YHWH’s lot has fallen and shall lift up] its blood in a golden bowl which is in [his ha]nd, [and do] with its blo[od as he has done with the blood of] his young bull and shall expiate with it for all the people of the assembly. He shall send up in smoke its fat and the corresponding grain-and drink-offering on the altar of the holocaust. Its flesh, skin and dung they shall burn beside his young bull. It is a sinoffering for the whole assembly. He shall expiate with it for all the people of the assembly and it shall be forgiven to them. He shall wash his hands and feet of the blood of the sin-offering and shall come to the living goat and shall confess over its head the iniquities of the children of Israel together with all their guilt, all their sins. He shall put them on the head of the goat and despatch it to Azazel in the desert by the hand of the man who is waiting ready. The goat shall bear all the iniquities of (the children of Israel).
… [and he shall expiate] for all the children of Israel and it shall be forgiven to them … Afterwards he shall offer the young bull, the r[a]m, and [the lambs, according to] the [sta]tute relating to them, on the altar of the holocaust, and the [ho]locaust will be accepted for the children of Israel, an eternal rule for their generations. Once a year this day shall be for them a memorial. They shall do no work on it, for it shall be [to] them a Sabbath of sacred rest. Whoever shall do work on it or shall not mortify himself on it, shall be cut off from the midst of his people. A Sabbath of sacred rest, a holy gathering shall this day be for you. You shall sanctify it as a memorial wherever you dwell and you shall do no work. On the fifteenth day of this month
… [the corresponding] grainoffering [and drink-offering, all on] the altar, an offering by fire, of s[oothing odour to YHWH. On] the second [day:] twelve young bulls, [two rams, four]teen [lambs] and one he-goat [for a sin-offerin]g [and the corresponding gr]ai[n-offering and drink-offering] according to the statute concerning the young bulls, the ram[s], the lambs [and] the hegoat; it is an offering by fire, of soothing odour to YHWH. On the third day eleven young bulls, two rams, fourteen lambs and one he-goat for a sin-offering and the corresponding grain-offering and drink-offering according to the statute concerning the young bulls, the rams, the lambs and the he-goat. On the fo[ur]th day ten young bulls, two rams, fourteen yearling ram lambs and one he-goat for a sin-offering and the corresponding grainoffering and drink-offering for the young bulls,
[the rams, the lambs and the he-goat … On the fifth day … and the corresponding grain-offering] and drink-offer[ing] … in the house on which I [shall cause] my name to rest … holocausts, [each on its] day according to the law of this statute, always from the children of Israel in addition to their freewillofferings in regard to all that they offer, their drink-offerings and all their gifts that they shall bring to me in order to be acceptable. I shall accept them and they shall be my people and I shall be for them for ever. I will dwell with them for ever and ever and will sanctify my [sa]nctuary by my glory. Iwill cause my glory to rest on it until the day of creation on which I shall create my sanctuary, establishing it for myself for all time according to the covenant which I have made with Jacob in Bethel.
Buildings in the Temple courtyards: the stair house, the house of the laver, the house for sacred vessels, the slaughterhouse, etc. (XXX-XXXV)
… You shall make … for stairs, a stair[case] … in the house which you shall build … You [shall make] a staircase north of the Temple, a square house, twenty cubits from one corner to the other alongside its four corners. Its distance from the wall of the Temple shall be seven cubits on the north-west. You shall make the width of its wall four cubits … like the Temple and its inside from corner to corner twelv[e cubits.] (There shall be) a square column in its middle, in the centre; its width four cubits on each side around which the stairs wind …
In the upper chamber of [this] ho[use you shall make a ga]te opening to the roof of the Temple and a way (shall be) made through this gate towards the entrance … of the Temple by which one can reach the upper chamber of the Temple. Overlay with gold [a]ll this stairhouse, its walls, its gates and its roof, from inside [and from] outside, its column and its stairs. [You] shall do everything as I tell you. You shall make a square house for the laver in the south-east, on all its sides, (each) twenty-one cubits; fifty cubits distant from the altar. The width of the wall shall be four cubits, and the height [t]wenty cubits … Make gates for it on the east, on the north and on the west. The width of the gates shall be four cubits and the height seven
… You shall make in the wall of this house, on the inside, recesses, and in them … one cubit (in) width and their height four cubits above the ground. They shall be overlaid with gold on which they shall place their clothes which they have worn on arrival. Above the house of the … when they come to minister in the sanctuary. You shall make a trench around the laver beside its house and the trench shall go [from the house of] the laver to a cavity. It shall descend [rapid]ly to the ground where the water shall flow and disappear. It shall not be touched by any man for it is mingled with the blood of the holocaust.
They shall sanctify my people in the sacred vestments which … You shall make a house east of the house of the [l]av[er] according to the measurement of [the house of the bas]in. Its wall shall be at a distance of seven cubits from the wall of the house of the laver. Its whole building and rafters shall be like (those of) the house of the laver. It shall have two gates on the north and the south, one opposite the other, according to the measurement of the gates of the house of the laver. Inside all the walls of this house shall have apertures, their width (and depth) two cubits each and their height four (?) with which the entrails and the feet are raised to the altar. When they have completed the sending up in smoke
… They close the wheels and … and tie the horns of the young bulls to the rings and … by the rings. Afterwards they shall slaughter them and collect [the blood] in bowls and toss it around the altar base. They shall open the wheels and strip the skin of the young bulls from their flesh and cut them up into pieces, salt the pieces, wash the entrails and the legs, salt them and send them up in smoke on the fire which is on the altar, each young bull with its pieces beside it and the corresponding grain-offering of fine flour on it, the wine of the drink-offering beside it and some of it on it. The priests, the sons of Aaron, shall send everything up in smoke on the altar, an offering by fire, of soothing odour before YHWH. You shall make chains hanging from the rafters of the twelve columns
… whoever is not a priest shall die, and whoever … [a prie]st who shall come … and he is not clothed in the [holy] vest[ments in which] he was ordained, they too shall be put to death and shall not pro[fane the san]ctuary of their God, thus incurring the iniquity of mortal guilt. You shall sanctify the environs of the altar, the Temple, the laver and the colonnade and they shall be most holy for ever and ever. You shall make a place west of the Temple, a colonnade of pillars standing around for the sin-offerings and the guilt-offerings, divided from one another, the sin-offerings of the priests, the he-goats, and the sin-offerings of the people and their guilt-offerings. None of these shall be mingled one with another, for their places shall be divided from one another in order that the priests may not err concerning all the sinofferings of the people, and all the rams (?) of the guilt-offerings, (thus) incurring the sin of guilt
The three courtyards of the Temple, one for the priests, one for Jewish men over twenty years of age, and one for women and children (XXXVI-XLV)
The birds for the altar: he shall prepare turtledoves
… from the corner of … [to the corne]r of the gat[e, one hundred and twenty cubits.] The gate (shall be) forty [cubits] wide. Each side shall be [according to this measurement. The wid]th of [its wa]ll shall be seven cubits, [and] its [height forty]-five [cubits to the raft]ers of [its] roof. The width of its ch[ambers] (shall be) twenty-six cubits from corner to corner. The gates of entrance and exit: the gate shall be fourteen cubits wide and [tw]enty-eight cubits high from the threshold to the lintel. The height of the rafters above the lintel shall be fourteen cubits. (The gate shall be) roofed with a panelling of cedar wood overlaid with pure gold. Its doors shall be overlaid with fine gold. From the corner of the gate to the second angle of the courtyard, (there shall be) one hundred and twenty cubits. Thus shall be the measurement of all these gates of the inner courtyard. The gates shall lead inside into the courtyard.
You shall make [in]side the court[yard] seats for the priests, and tables in front of the seats, in the inner colonnade by the outer wall of the courtyard, places made for the priests and their sacrifices, for the first fruits and the tithes, for their peace-offering sacrifices which they shall sacrifice. The sacrifices of the peace-offerings of the children of Israel shall not be mingled with the sacrifices of the priests. In the four corners of the courtyard you shall make for them a place for cooking-stoves where they shall seethe their sacrifices [and] sin offerings.
… There they shall eat … the bird, the turtle-dove and the young pigeons … You shall make a second [co]urtyard aro[u]nd [the in]ner [courtyard], one hundred cubits wide, and four hundred and eighty cubits long on the east side, and thus shall be the width and length of all its sides: to the south, to the west and to the north. Its wall shall be [fo]ur cubits wide and twenty-eight cubits high. Chambers shall be made in the wall outside and between each chamber there shall be three-[and-a-half cubits]
… that all the congregation of the children of Israel may bow down before me … No woman shall come there, nor a child until the day that he has fulfilled the rule … [and has paid for] himself [a ransom] to YHWH, half a shekel, an eternal rule, a memorial wherever they dwell. The shekel (consists of) twenty gerahs. When they shall collect from him the half-shekel… to me. Afterwards they shall enter from the age of twenty … The na[mes of the g]ates of this [co]urtyard sha[ll b]e according to the nam[es of] the children of Is[ra]el: Simeon, Levi and Judah in the east; Reuben, Joseph and Benjamin in the south; Issachar, Zebulun and Gad in the west; Dan, Naphtali and Asher in the north. Between each gate the measurement (shall be): from the north-eastern corner to the gate of Simeon, ninetynine cubits, and the gate twenty-eight cubits. From this gate of Simeon to the gate of Levi, ninety-nine cubits, and the gate, twenty-eight cubits. From the gate of Levi to the gate of Judah
… You shall make a third courtyard … to their daughters and to the strangers who [were] born … [wi]de around the middle courtyard … in length about one thousand six [hundred] cubits from one corner to the next. Each side shall be according to this measurement: on the east, the south, the west and the no[rt]h. The wall shall be seven cubits wide and forty-nine cubits high. Chambers shall be made between its gates along the foundation as far up as its ‘crowns’ (= crenellations: Yadin). There shall be three gates in the east, three in the south, three in the west and three in the north. The gates shall be fifty cubits wide and their height seventy cubits. Between one gate and another there shall be three hundred and sixty cubits. From the corner to the gate of Simeon, three hundred and sixty cubits. From the gate of Simeon to the gate of Levi, likewise. From the gate of Levi to the gate of Judah, likewise three [hundred and] sixty (cubits).
… From the gate of Issachar [to the gate of Zebulun, three] hundred [and sixty] cubits. From the gate of Zebulun to the gate of Gad, three hundred and sixty cubits. From the ga[te of] Gad to the northern corner, three hundred and sixty cubits. From this corner to the gate of Dan: three hundred and sixty cubits. Thus from the gate of Dan to the gate of Naphtali, three hundred and sixty cubits. From the gate of Naphtali to the gate of Asher, three hundred and sixty cubits. From the gate of Asher to the eastern corner, three hundred and sixty cubits. The gates shall jut outwards from the wall of the courtyard seven cubits, and extend inwards from the wall to the courtyard thirty-six cubits. The entrance of the gate shall be fourteen cubits wide and twenty-eight cubits high up to the lintel. The rafters at the doorways (?) shall be of cedar wood and overlaid with gold. The doors shall be overlaid with pure gold. Between each gate inwards you shall make storehouses,
[rooms and colonnades.] The room shall be ten cubits wide, twenty cubits long, and four[teen] cubits high … with cedar wood. The wall shall be two cubits wide. On the outside there shall be storehouses. [The storehouse shall be ten cubits wide and] twenty cubits [long]. The wall shall be two cubits wide [and fourteen cubits high] up to the lintel. Its entrance shall be three cubits wide. [You shall make in this way] all the storehouses and the [corresponding] rooms. The colon[nade] … shall be ten cubits [wi]de. Between each gate [you shall make eight]een storehouses and the corresponding eight[een] rooms … You shall make a staircase next to the walls of the gates towards the colonnade. Winding stairs shall go up to the second and third colonnades and to the roof. You shall build storehouses and corresponding rooms and colonnades as on the ground floor. The second and the third (levels) shall follow the measurement of the lower one. On the roof of the third you shall make pillars roofed with rafters from one pillar to the next (providing) a place for tabernacles. The (pillars) shall be eight cubits high and the tabernacles shall be made on their (roof) each year at the feast of the Tabernacles for the elders of the congregation, for the princes, the heads of the fathers’ houses of the children of Israel, the captains of the thousands, the captains of the hundreds, who will ascend and dwell there until the sacrificing of the holocaust on the festival which is the feast of the Tabernacles, each year. Between each gate there shall be
… on the days of the first fruits of the corn, of the w[ine (tirosh) and the oil, and at the festival of the offering of] wood. On these days (the tithe) shall be eaten. They shall not put aside anything from it from one year to another. For they shall eat it in this manner. From the feast of the Firstfruits of the corn of wheat they shall eat the corn until the next year, until the feast of the First fruits, and (they shall drink) the wine from the day of the festival of Wine until the next year, until the day of the festival of the Wine, and (they shall eat) the oil from its festival, until the next year, until the festival, the day of offering the new oil on the altar. Whatever is left (to last beyond) their festivals shall be sanctified by being burnt with fire. It shall no longer be eaten for it is holy. Those who live within a distance of three days’ walk from the sanctuary shall bring whatever they can bring. If they cannot carry it, they shall sell it for money and buy with it corn, wine, oil, cattle and sheep, and shall eat them on the days of the festivals. On working days they shall not eat from this in their weariness for it is holy. On the holy days it shall be eaten, but it shall not be eaten on working days.
… You shall allot [the rooms and the corresponding chambers. From the gate of Simeo]n to the gate of Judah shall be for the priests … All that is to the right and to the left of the gate of Levi, you shall allo[t] to Aaron, your brother, one hundred and eight rooms and corresponding chambers and two tabernacles which are on the roof. (You shall allot) to the sons of Judah (the area) from the gate of Judah to the corner: fifty-four rooms and corresponding chambers and the tabernacle that is over them. (You shall allot) to the sons of Simeon (the area) from the gate of Simeon to the second corner: their rooms, the corresponding chambers and tabernacles. (You shall allot) to the sons of Reuben (the area) from the corner which is beside the sons of Judah to the gate of Reuben: fifty-two rooms and the corresponding chambers and tabernacles. (The area) from the gate of Reuben to the gate of Joseph (you shall allot) to the sons of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh. (The area) from the gate of Joseph to the gate of Benjamin (you shall allot) to the sons of Kohath from the Levites. (The area) from the gate of Benjamin to the western corner (you shall allot) to the sons of Benjamin. (The area) from this corner to the gate of Issachar (you shall allot) to the sons of Issachar. (The area) from the gate (of Issachar)
… the second (= incoming) [priestly course] shall enter on the left … and the first (= outgoing) shall leave on the right. They shall not mingle with one another nor their vessels. [Each] priestly course shall come to its place and they shall stay there. One shall arrive and the other leave on the eighth day. They shall clean the rooms, one after the other, when the first (priestly course) leaves. There shall be no mingling there. No man who has had a nocturnal emission shall enter the sanctuary at all until three days have elapsed. He shall wash his garments and bathe on the first day and on the third day he shall wash his garments and bathe, and after sunset he shall enter the sanctuary. They shall not enter my sanctuary in their impure uncleanness and render it unclean. No man who has had sexual intercourse with his wife shall enter anywhere into the city of the sanctuary where I cause my name to abide, for three days. No blind man shall enter it in all his days and shall not profane the city where I abide, for I, YHWH, abide amongst the children of Israel for ever and ever. Whoever is to purify himself of his flux shall count seven days for his purification. He shall wash his garments on the seventh day and bathe his whole body in running water. Afterwards he shall enter the city of the sanctuary. No one unclean through contact with a corpse shall enter there until he has purified himself. No leper nor any man smitten (in his body) shall enter there until he has purified himself and has offered …
Purity regulations concerning the Temple and the city of the Sanctuary (XLVI-XLVII)
… [No] unclean bird shall fly over [my] sanctua[ry] … the roofs of the gates … the outer courtyard … be in my sanctuary for ever and ever all the time that I [abide] among them. You shall make a terrace round about, outside the outer courtyard, fourteen cubits wide like the entrances of all the gates. You shall make twelve steps (leading) to it by which the children of Israel shall ascend there to enter my sanctuary. You shall make a one-hundred-cubits-wide ditch around the sanctuary which shall divide the holy sanctuary from the city so that no one can rush into my sanctuary and defile it. They shall sanctify my sanctuary and hold it in awe because I abide among them. You shall make for them latrines outside the city where they shall go out, north-west of the city. These shall be roofed houses with holes in them into which the filth shall go down. It shall be far enough not to be visible from the city, (at) three thousand cubits. You shall make three areas to the east of the city, divided from one another, where the lepers, those suffering from a flux and men who have had a (nocturnal) emission
… Their cities [shall be] pure … for ever. The city which I will sanctify, causing my name and [my] sanctuar[y] to abide [in it], shall be holy and pure of all impurity with which they can become impure. Whatever is in it shall be pure. Whatever enters it shall be pure: wine, oil, all food and all moistened (food) shall be clean. No skin of clean animals slaughtered in their cities shall be brought there (to the city of the sanctuary). But in their cities they may use them for any work they need. But they shall not bring them to the city of my sanctuary, for the purity of the skin corresponds to that of the flesh. You shall not profane the city where I cause my name and my sanctuary to abide. For it is in the skins (of animals) slaughtered in the sanctuary that they shall bring their wine and oil and all their food to the city of my sanctuary. They shall not pollute my sanctuary with the skins of animals slaughtered in their country which are tainted (= unfit for the Temple). You cannot render any city among your cities as pure as my city, for the purity of the skin of the animal corresponds to the purity of its flesh. If you slaughter it in my sanctuary, it shall be pure for my sanctuary, but if you slaughter it in your cities, it shall be pure (only) for your cities. Whatever is pure for the sanctuary, shall be brought in skins (fit) for the sanctuary, and you shall not profane my sanctuary and my city where I abide with tainted skins.
Purity regulations concerning the cities of Israel (XLVIII-LI)
… [the cormorant, the stork, every ki]nd of [heron,] the hoop[oe and the bat] … You may eat [the following] flying [insects]: every kind of great locust, every kind of long-headed locust, every kind of green locust, and every kind of desert locust. These are among the flying insects which you may eat: those which walk on four legs and have legs jointed above their feet to leap with them on the ground and wings to fly with. You shall not eat the carcass of any bird or beast but may sell it to a foreigner. You shall not eat any abominable thing, for you are a holy people to YHWH, your God. You are the sons of YHWH, your God. You shall not gash yourselves or shave your forelocks in mourning for the dead, nor shall you tattoo yourselves, for you are a holy people to YHWH, your God. You shall not profane your land. You shall not do as the nations do; they bury their dead everywhere, they bury them even in their houses. Rather you shall set apart areas in the midst of your land where you shall bury your dead. Between four cities you shall designate an area for burial. In every city you shall set aside areas for those stricken with leprosy, with plague and with scab, who shall not enter your cities and profane them, and also for those who suffer from a flux; and for menstruating women, and women after childbirth, so that they may not cause defilement in their midst by their impure uncleanness. The leper suffering from chronic leprosy or scab, who has been pronounced unclean by the priest
… with cedar wood, hyssop and … your cities with the plague of leprosy and they shall be unclean. If a man dies in your cities, the house in which the dead man has died shall be unclean for seven days. Whatever is in the house and whoever enters the house shall be unclean for seven days.Any food on which water has been poured shall be unclean, anything moistened shall be unclean. Earthenware vessels shall be unclean and whatever they contain shall be unclean for every clean man. The open (vessels) shall be unclean for every Israelite (with) whatever is moistened in them. On the day when the body is removed from there, they shall cleanse the house of all pollution of oil, wine and water moisture. They shall rub its (the house’s) floor, walls and doors and shall wash with water the bolts, doorposts, thresholds and lintels. On the day when the body is removed from there, they shall purify the house and all its utensils, hand-mills and mortars, all utensils of wood, iron and bronze and all utensils capable of purification. Clothes, sacks and skins shall be washed. As for the people, whoever has been in the house or has entered the house shall bathe in water and shall wash his clothes on the first day. On the third day they shall sprinkle purifying water on them and shall bathe. They shall wash their garments and all the utensils in the house. On the seventh day they shall sprinkle (them) a second time. They shall bathe, wash their clothes and utensils and shall be clean by the evening of (the impurity contracted) from the dead so as to (be fit to) touch their pure things. As for a man who has not been rendered unclean on account of
L … they have been unclean. No longer … until they have sprinkled (them) the second [time] on the seventh day and shall be clean by the evening at sunset. Whoever touches the bone of a dead person in the fields, or one slain by the sword, or a dead body or the blood of a dead person, or a tomb, he shall purify himself according to the rule of this statute. But if he does not purify himself according to the statute of this law, he is unclean, his uncleanness being still in him. Whoever touches him must wash his clothes, bathe and he shall be clean by the evening. If a woman is with child and it dies in her womb, as long as it is dead in her, she shall be unclean like a tomb. Any house that she enters shall be unclean with all its utensils for seven days. Whoever touches it shall be unclean till the evening. If anyone enters the house with her, he shall be unclean for seven days. He shall wash his clothes and bathe in water on the first (day). On the third day he shall sprinkle and wash his clothes and bathe. On the seventh day he shall sprinkle a second time and wash his clothes and bathe. At sunset he shall be clean. As for all the utensils, clothes, skins and all the materials made of goat’s hair, you shall deal with them according to the statute of this law. All earthenware vessels shall be broken for they are unclean and can no more be purified ever. All creatures that teem on the ground you shall proclaim unclean: the weasel, the mouse, every kind of lizard, the wall gecko, the sand gecko, the great lizard and the chameleon. Whoever touches them dead
LI … [and whatever com]es out of the[m] … [shall be] unclean [to you.] You shall [not] render yourselves unclean by th[em. Whoever touches them] dead shall be unclean un[til the] evening. He shall wash his clothes and bathe [in water and at] sun[set] he shall be clean. Whoever carries any of their bones, their carcass, skin, flesh or claw shall wash his clothes and bathe in water. After sunset he shall be clean. You shall forewarn the children of Israel about all the impurities. They shall not render themselves unclean by those of which I tell you on this mountain and they shall not be unclean. For I, YHWH, abide among the children of Israel. You shall sanctify them and they shall be holy. They shall not render themselves abominable by anything that I have separated for them as unclean and they shall be holy.
Judges and officers (LI)
You shall establish judges and officers in all your towns and they shall judge the people with just judgement. They shall not be partial in (their) judgement. They shall not accept bribes, nor shall they twist judgement, for the bribe twists judgement, overturns the works of justice, blinds the eyes of the wise, produces great guilt, and profanes the house by the iniquity of sin. Justice and justice alone shall you pursue that you may live and come to inherit the land that I give you to inherit for all days. The man who accepts bribes and twists just judgement shall be put to death. You shall not be afraid to execute him.
Laws relating to idolatry and to sacrificial animals (LI-LIII)
You shall not do in your land as the nations do. Everywhere they sacrifice, plant sacred trees, erect sacred pillars and set up carved stones to bow down before them and build for them
… You shall not plant [any tree as a sacred tree beside my altar to be made by you.] You shall not erect a sacred pillar [that is hateful to me.] You shall not make anywhere in your land a carved stone to bow down before it. You shall not sacrifice to me any cattle or sheep with a grave blemish, for they are abominable to me. You shall not sacrifice to me any cattle or sheep or goat that is pregnant, for this would be an abomination to me. You shall not slaughter a cow or a ewe and its young on the same day, neither shall you kill a mother with her young. Of all the firstlings born to your cattle or sheep, you shall sanctify for me the male animals. You shall not use the firstling of your cattle for work, nor shall you shear the firstling of your small cattle. You shall eat it before me every year in the place that I shall choose. Should it be blemished, being lame or blind or (afflicted with) any grave blemish, you shall not sacrifice it to me. It is within your towns that you shall eat it. The unclean and the clean among you together (may eat it) like a gazelle or a deer. It is the blood alone that you shall not eat. You shall spill it on the ground like water and cover it with dust. You shall not muzzle an ox while it is threshing. You shall not plough with an ox and an ass (harnessed) together. You shall not slaughter clean cattle or sheep or goat in any of your towns, within a distance of three days’ journey from my sanctuary. It is rather in my sanctuary that you shall slaughter it, making of it a holocaust or peace-offering. You shall eat and rejoice before me in the place on which I choose to set my name. Every clean animal with a blemish, you shall eat it within your towns, away from my sanctuary at a distance of thirty stadia. You shall not slaughter it close to my sanctuary for its flesh is tainted. You shall not eat in my city, which I sanctify by placing my name in it, the flesh of cattle, sheep or goat which has not entered my sanctuary. They shall sacrifice it there, toss its blood to the base of the altar of holocaust and shall burn its fat.
[When I extend your frontiers as I have told you, and if the place where I have chosen to set my name is too distan]t, and you say, ‘I will eat meat’, because you [l]ong for it, [whatever you desire,] you may eat, [and you may slau]gh[ter] any of your small cattle or cattle which I give you according to my blessing. You may eat it within your towns, the clean and the unclean together, like gazelle or deer (meat). But you shall firmly abstain from eating the blood. You shall spill it on the ground like water and cover it with dust. For the blood is the life and you shall not eat the life with the flesh so that it may be well with you and with your sons after you for ever. You shall do that which is correct and good before me, for I am YHWH, your God. But all your devoted gifts and votive donations you shall bring when you come to the place where I cause my name to abide, and you shall sacrifice (them) there before me as you have devoted and vowed them with your mouth.
Vows and oaths (LIII-LIV)
When you make a vow, you shall not tarry in fulfilling it, for surely Iwill require it of you and you shall become guilty of a sin. You shall keep the word uttered by your lips, for your mouth has vowed freely to perform your vow. When a man makes a vow to me or swears an oath to take upon himself a binding obligation, he must not break his word. Whatever has been uttered by his mouth, he shall do it. When a woman makes a vow to me, or takes upon herself a binding obligation by means of an oath in her father’s house, in her youth, if her father hears of her vow or the binding obligation which she has taken upon herself and remains silent, all her vows shall stand, and her binding obligation which she has taken upon herself shall stand. If, however, her father definitely forbids her on the day that he hears of it, none of her vows or binding obligations which she has taken upon herself shall stand, and I will absolve her because (her father) has forbidden her
[when he] h[eard of them. But if he annuls them after] the da[y that he has] hea[rd of them, he shall bear] her guilt: [her] fa[ther has annulled them. Any vow] or binding oath (made by a woman) [to mortify herself,] her husband may confi[rm it] or annul it on the day that he hears of it, and Iwill absolve her. But any vow of a widow or a divorced woman, whatever she has taken upon herself shall stand in conformity with all that her mouth has uttered.
Laws against apostasy (LIV-LV)
Everything that I command you today, see to it that it is kept. You shall not add to it, nor detract from it. If a prophet or a dreamer appears among you and presents you with a sign or a portent, even if the sign or the portent comes true, when he says, ‘Let us go and worship other gods whom you have not known!’, do not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer, for I am testing you to discover whether you love YHWH, the God of your fathers, with all your heart and soul. It is YHWH, your God, that you must follow and serve, and it is him that you must fear and his voice that you must obey, and you must hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer shall be put to death for he has preached rebellion against YHWH, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to lead you astray from the path that I have commanded you to follow. You shall rid yourself of this evil. If your brother, the son of your father or the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is like your own self, (seeks to) entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods whom you have not known’, neither you,
[nor] your [fa]thers, some of the gods [of the peoples that are round about you, whether near you or far off from you], from the one end of the earth to [the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity] him, nor shall you spare [him, nor shall you conceal him; but you shall kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones because he sought to] draw you away [from me who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and never again do such an evil thing] among you. If in on[e of your cities in which I] give you to dw[ell] you hear this said: ‘Men, [s]ons of [Beli]al have arisen in your midst and have led astray all the inhabitants of their city saying, “Let us go and worship gods whom you have not known!”,’ you shall inquire, search and investigate carefully. If the matter is proven true that such an abomination has been done in Israel, you shall surely put all the inhabitants of that city to the sword. You shall place it and all who are in it under the ban, and you shall put the beasts to the sword. You shall assemble all the booty in (the city) square and shall burn it with fire, the city and all the booty, as a whole-offering to YHWH, your God. It shall be a ruin for ever and shall never be rebuilt. Nothing from that which has been placed under the ban shall cleave to your hand so that I may turn from my hot anger and show you compassion. I will be compassionate to you and multiply you as I told your fathers, provided that you obey my voice, keeping all my commandments that I command you today, to do that which is correct and good before YHWH, your God. If among you, in one of your towns that I give you, there is found a man or a woman who does that which is wrong in my eyes by transgressing my covenant, and goes and worships other gods, and bows down before them, or before the sun or the moon, or all the host of heaven, if you are told about it, and you hear about this matter, you shall search and investigate it carefully. If the matter is proven true that such an abomination has been done in Israel, you shall lead out that man or that woman and stone him (to death) with stones
Laws relating to priests and Levites and detailed statutes of the Jewish king (LVI-LIX)
… [You shall go to the Levitical priests o]r to the [j]u[dges then in office]; you shall seek their guidance and [they] shall pro[nounce on] the matter for which [you have sought their guidance, and they shall procl]aim the(ir) judgement to you. You shall act in conformity with the law that they proclaim to you and the saying that they declare to you from the book of the Law. They shall issue to you a proclamation in truth from the place where I choose to cause my name to abide. Be careful to do all that they teach you and act in conformity with the decision that they communicate to you. Do not stray from the law which they proclaim to you to the right or to the left. The man who does not listen but acts arrogantly without obeying the priest who is posted there to minister before me, or the judge, that man shall die. You shall rid Israel of evil. All the people shall hear of it and shall be awe-stricken, and none shall ever again be arrogant in Israel. When you enter the land which I give you, take possession of it, dwell in it and say, ‘I will appoint a king over me as do all the nations around me!’, you may surely appoint over you the king whom I will choose. It is from among your brothers that you shall appoint a king over you. You shall not appoint over you a foreigner who is not your brother. He (the king) shall definitely not acquire many horses, neither shall he lead the people back to Egypt for war to acquire many horses and much silver and gold, for I told you, ‘You shall never again go back that way’. He shall not acquire many wives that they may not turn his heart away from me. He shall not acquire very much silver and gold. When he sits on the throne of his kingdom, they shall write for him this law from the book which is before the priests.
This is the law [that they shall write for him] … [They shall count,] on the day that they appoint hi[m] king, the sons of Israel from the age of twenty to sixty years according to their standard (units). He shall install at their head captains of thousands, captains of hundreds, captains of fifties and captains of tens in all their cities. He shall select from among them one thousand by tribe to be with him: twelve thousand warriors who shall not leave him alone to be captured by the nations. All the selected men whom he has selected shall be men of truth, God-fearers, haters of unjust gain and mighty warriors. They shall be with him always, day and night. They shall guard him from anything sinful, and from any foreign nation in order not to be captured by them. The twelve princes of his people shall be with him, and twelve from among the priests, and from among the Levites twelve. They shall sit together with him to (proclaim) judgement and the law so that his heart shall not be lifted above them, and he shall do nothing without them concerning any affair. He shall not marry as wife any daughter of the nations, but shall take a wife for himself from his father’s house, from his father’s family. He shall not take another wife in addition to her, for she alone shall be with him all the time of her life. But if she dies, he may marry another from his father’s house, from his family. He shall not twist judgement; he shall take no bribe to twist a just judgement and shall not covet a field or a vineyard, any riches or house, or anything desirable in Israel. He shall (not) rob
… When the king hears of any nation or people intent on plundering whatever belongs to Israel, he shall send for the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds posted in the cities of Israel. They shall send with him (the captain) one tenth of the people to go with him (the king) to war against their enemies, and they shall go with him. But if a large force enters the land of Israel, they shall send with him one fifth of the warriors. If a king with chariots and horses and a large force (comes), they shall send with him one third of the warriors, and the two (remaining) divisions shall guard their city and their boundaries so that no marauders invade their land. If the war presses him (the king) hard, they shall send to him half of the people, the men of the army, but the (other) half of the people shall not be severed from their cities. If they triumph over their enemies, smash them, put them to the sword and carry away their booty, they shall give the king his tithe of this, the priests one thousandth and the Levites one hundredth from everything. They shall halve the rest between the combatants and their brothers whom they have left in their cities. If he (the king) goes to war against his enemies, one fifth of the people shall go with him, the warriors, all the mighty men of valour. They shall avoid everything unclean, everything shameful, every iniquity and guilt. He shall not go until he has presented himself before the High Priest who shall inquire on his behalf for a decision by the Urim and Tummim. It is at his word that he shall go and at his word that he shall come, he and all the children of Israel who are with him. He shall not go following his heart’s counsel until he (the High Priest) has inquired for a decision by the Urim and Tummim. He shall (then) succeed in all his ways on which he has set out according to the decision which
… and they shall disperse them in many lands and they shall become a h[orror], a byword, a mockery. With a heavy yoke and in extreme want, they shall there serve gods made by human hands, of wood and stone, silver and gold. During this time their cities shall become a devastation, a laughing-stock and a wasteland, and their enemies shall devastate them. They shall sigh in the lands of their enemies and scream because of the heavy yoke. They shall cry out but I will not listen; they shall scream but I will not answer them because of their evil doings. I will hide my face from them and they shall become food, plunder and prey. None shall save them because of their wickedness, because they have broken my covenant and their soul has loathed my law until they have incurred every guilt. Afterwards they will return to me with all their heart and all their soul, in conformity with all the words of this law, and I will save them from the hand of their enemies and redeem them from the hand of those who hate them, and I will bring them to the land of their fathers. I will redeem them, and increase them and exult over them. I will be their God and they shall be my people. The king whose heart and eyes have gone astray from my commandments shall never have one to sit on the throne of his fathers, for I will cut off his posterity for ever so that it shall no more rule over Israel. But if he walk after my rules and keep my commandments and do that which is correct and good before me, no heir to the throne of the kingdom of Israel shall be cut off from among his sons for ever. Iwill be with him and will save him from the hand of those who hate him and from the hand of those who seek his life. I will place all his enemies before him and he shall rule over them according to his pleasure and they shall not rule over him. I will set him on an upward, not on a downward, course, to be the head and not the tail, that the days of his kingdom may be lengthened greatly for him and his sons after him
Miscellaneous laws regarding priestly dues, idols, witnesses, the conduct of war, the rebellious son, crimes punishable by ‘hanging’, and incestuous relations (LX-LXVI)
… and all their wave-offerings. All their firstling male [bea]sts and all … of their beasts and all their holy gifts which they shall sanctify to me together with all their holy gifts of praise and a proportion of their offering of birds, wild animals and fish, one thousandth of their catch, and all that they shall devote, and the proportion of the booty and the plunder. To the Levites shall belong the tithe of the corn, the wine and the oil that they have sanctified to me first; the shoulder from those who slaughter a sacrifice and a proportion of the booty, the plunder and the catch of birds, wild animals and fish, one hundredth; the tithe from the young pigeons and from the honey one fiftieth. To the priests shall belong one hundredth of the young pigeons, for I have chosen them from all your tribes to attend on me and minister (before me) and bless my name, he and his sons always. If a Levite come from any town anywhere in Israel where he sojourns to the place where I will choose to cause my name to abide, (if he come) with an eager soul, he may minister like his brethren the Levites who attend on me there. He shall have the same share of food with them, besides the inheritance from his father’s family. When you enter the land which I give you, do not learn to practise the abominations of those nations. There shall be found among you none who makes his son or daughter pass through fire, nor an augur or a soothsayer, a diviner or a sorcerer, one who casts spells or a medium, or wizards or necromancers. For they are an abomination before me, all who practise such things, and it is because of these abominations that I drive them out before you. You shall be perfect towards YHWH, your God. For these nations that
… to ut[ter a word] in [my] n[ame which I have n]ot comman[ded him to] utter, or wh[o speaks in the name of oth]er go[ds], that prophet shall be put to death. If you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which YHWH has not uttered?’, when the word uttered by the prophet in the name of YHWH is not fulfilled and does not come true, that is not a word that I have uttered. The prophet has spoken arrogantly; do not fear him. A single witness may not come forward against a man in the matter of any iniquity or sin which he has committed. It is on the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses that a case can be established. If a malicious witness comes forward against a man to testify against him in a case of a crime, both disputants shall stand before me and before the priests and the Levites and before the judges then in office, and the judges shall inquire, and if the witness is a false witness who has testified falsely against his brother, you shall do to him as he proposed to do to his brother. You shall rid yourselves of evil. The rest shall hear of it and shall be awe-stricken and never again shall such a thing be done in your midst. You shall have no mercy on him: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. When you go to war against your enemies, and you see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, be not afraid of them, for I am with you who brought you out of the land of Egypt. When you approach the battle, the priest shall come forward to speak to the army and say to them, ‘Hear, Israel, you approach … ’ …
[and another man shall use its fruit. If any man has betrothed a woman but has not yet married her, he shall return] home. Otherwise he may die in the war and another man may take her. [The] of[ficers shall continue] to address the army and say, ‘If any man is afraid and has lost heart, he shall go and return. Otherwise he may render his kinsmen as faint-hearted as himself.’ When the judges have finished addressing the army, they shall appoint army captains at the head of the people. When you approach a city to fight it, (first) offer it peace. If it seeks peace and opens (its gates) to you, then all the people found in it shall become your forced labourers and shall serve you. If it does not make peace with you, but is ready to fight a war against you, you shall besiege it and Iwill deliver it into your hands. You shall put all its males to the sword, but the women, the children, the beasts and all that is in the city, all its booty, you may take as spoil for yourselves. You may enjoy the use of the booty of your enemies which I give you. Thus shall you treat the very distant cities, those which are not among the cities of these nations. But in the cities of the peoples which I give you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive any creature. Indeed you shall utterly exterminate the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, the Girgashites and the Perizzites as I have commanded you, that they may not teach you to practise all the abominations that they have performed to their gods.
… [a heifer with which] he has not worked, which [has not drawn the yoke. The elders of] that city [shall bring down] the heifer to a ravine with an ever-flowing stream which has never been sown or cultivated, and there they shall break its neck. The priests, the sons of Levi, shall come forward, for I have chosen them to minister before me and bless my name, and every dispute and every assault shall be decided by their word. All the elders of the city nearest to the body of the murdered man shall wash their hands over the head of the heifer whose neck has been broken in the ravine. They shall declare, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it happen. Accept expiation for thy people Israel whom thou hast redeemed, O YHWH, and do not permit the guilt of innocent blood to rest among thy people, Israel. Let this blood be expiated for them.’ You shall rid Israel (of the guilt) of innocent blood, and you shall do that which is correct and good before YHWH, your God. When you go to war against your enemies, and I deliver them into your hands, and you capture some of them, if you see among the captives a pretty woman and desire her, you may take her to be your wife. You shall bring her to your house, you shall shave her head, and cut her nails. You shall discard the clothes of her captivity and she shall dwell in your house, and bewail her father and mother for a full month. Afterwards you may go to her, consummate the marriage with her and she will be your wife. But she shall not touch whatever is pure for you for seven years, neither shall she eat of the sacrifice of peace-offering until seven years have elapsed. Afterwards she may eat.
… [the firstfruits of his virility; he has the right of the first-born.] If a man has a disobedient and rebellious son who refuses to listen to his father and mother, nor listens to them when they chastise him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders of his city, to the gate of his place. They shall say to the elders of his town, ‘This son of ours is disobedient and rebellious; he does not listen to us; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ All the men of his city shall stone him with stones and he shall die, and you shall rid yourselves of evil. All the children of Israel shall hear of it and be awe-stricken. If a man slanders his people and delivers his people to a foreign nation and does evil to his people, you shall hang him on a tree and he shall die. On the testimony of two witnesses and on the testimony of three witnesses he shall be put to death and they shall hang him on the tree. If a man is guilty of a capital crime and flees (abroad) to the nations, and curses his people, the children of Israel, you shall hang him also on the tree, and he shall die. But his body shall not stay overnight on the tree. Indeed you shall bury him on the same day. For he who is hanged on the tree is accursed of God and men. You shall not pollute the ground which I give you to inherit. If you see your kinsman’s ox or sheep or donkey straying, do not neglect them; you shall indeed return them to your kinsman. If your kinsman does not live near you, and you do not know who he is, you shall bring the animal to your house and it shall be with you until he claims (it).
… [Wh]en a bird’s nest happens to lie before you by the roadside, on any tree or on the ground, with fledglings or eggs, and the hen is sitting on the fledglings or the eggs, you shall not take the hen with the young. You shall surely let the hen escape and take only the young so that it may be well with you and your days shall be prolonged. When you build a new house, you shall construct a parapet on the roof so that you do not bring blood-guilt on your house if anyone should fall from it. When a man takes a wife, has sexual intercourse with her and takes a dislike to her, and brings a baseless charge against her, ruining her reputation, and says, ‘I have taken this woman, approached her, and did not find the proof of virginity in her’, the father or the mother of the girl shall take the girl’s proof of virginity and bring it to the elders at the gate. The girl’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to be this man’s wife; he has taken a dislike to her and has brought a baseless charge against her saying, “I have not found the proof of virginity in your daughter.” Here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.’ They shall spread out the garment before the elders of that city. The elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him. They shall fine him one hundred pieces of silver which they shall give to the father of the girl, because he (the husband) has tried to ruin the reputation of an Israelite virgin. He shall not
… [When a virgin betrothed to a man is found by another man in the city and he lies with her, they shall bring both of them to the gate] of that city and stone them with stones and they shall be put to death: the girl because she has not shouted (for help, although she was) in the city, and the man because he has dishonoured his neighbour’s wife. You shall rid yourselves of evil. If the man has found the woman in the fields in a distant place hidden from the city, and raped her, only he who has lain with her shall be put to death. To the girl they shall do nothing since she has committed no crime worthy of death. For this affair is like that of a man who attacks his neighbour and murders him. For it was in the fields that he found her and the betrothed girl shouted (for help), but none came to her rescue. When a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed, but is suitable to him according to the rule, and lies with her, and he is found out, he who has lain with her shall give the girl’s father fifty pieces of silver and she shall be his wife. Because he has dishonoured her, he may not divorce her all his days. A man shall not take his father’s wife and shall not lift his father’s skirt. A man shall not take the wife of his brother and shall not lift the skirt of his brother, the son of his father or the son of his mother, for this is unclean. A man shall not take his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother, for this is abominable. A man shall not take his father’s sister or his mother’s sister, for this is immoral. A man shall not take the daughter of his brother or the daughter of his sister for this is abominable. (A man) shall not take
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